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Impacts of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) on tall trees and their recovery within a small, fenced reserve in South Africa.

Thompson, K., Ford, A., Esteban, G., Poupard, A., Zoon, K. and Pettorelli, N., 2022. Impacts of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) on tall trees and their recovery within a small, fenced reserve in South Africa. African Journal of Ecology. (In Press)

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Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/13652028

DOI: 10.1111/aje.12963

Abstract

African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) can have detrimental impacts on trees; studies exploring elephant impact within small, fenced reserves, have lacked focus in determining elephant high-use areas, the direct effect of fence line and tree recovery. The aim of this study is to assess whether elephants cause significant impact on trees in the small fenced Karongwe Private Game Reserve (KPGR) and to determine levels of tree recovery. Trees ≥ 5m in height were surveyed (n=634 trees). Elephant location data were used to identify high- and low-use areas. 5 species accounted for 80% of the records; these were used for further analysis. Trees in high-use areas were significantly less likely to show signs of debarking and push over. Tall trees were significantly more likely to be impacted by elephants, being associated with heightened risks of debarking and branches being broken but lower risks of being pushed over. Trees close to the fence line were not more impacted than trees near the centre of the reserve. The level of use, distance to the fence and tree height were not significant predictors of tree recovery indicators. Future mitigation efforts should focus on trees with high levels of impact and low levels of recovery.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0141-6707
Additional Information:Funding information: Lions Clubs International Foundation
Uncontrolled Keywords:Karongwe Game Reserve, Loxodonta africana, Tree impact, Tree recovery, Space use, Elephant density, Fence
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:36425
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:04 Jan 2022 10:40
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:31

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